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Friday, June 29, 2012

Outta Here

I'm off to Vegas for the weekend. We are visiting our friend who lives there and are going to have some poolside cabana action. This getaway couldn't have come at a better time.
Outfit Details: Pants: Express, Shirt: ASOS, Shoes: Blowfish,
Ring: c/o My Life in Lavender, Necklace: UO

My life has been pretty stressful lately. Lots of challenges have been popping up at inconvenient times and I've just been trying to breathe my way through it. I really do love my life and feel so fortunate for what I've been able to accomplish in the last year. But the more I take on, the more challenges I face and I'm still learning how to deal with them in the best way. In this instance, I'm getting outta here! Sometimes you just have to get back into a good mind set, am I right?

So this weekend I plan to step back, relax and come back on Monday with a clear head. I closed my shop.  If I kept my shop open over the weekend I'd be thinking about work every time I got a sale. I'd start getting anxiety about the orders I'd be behind on come Monday. That's not a vacation. That's not stepping away. Sometimes you need to completely 100% step away so that you can return feeling fresh and ready to go. I'm already looking forward to feeling that way on Monday.

I hope you have a good weekend! xo JA

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Baking Hard Boiled Eggs - A Pinterest Test

I don't know about you, but a lot of times I stumble across something on Pinterest that makes me go "Whaaat?? No waaayyy!" I've decided to start putting these "too good to be true" ideas to the test! I recently saw a pin about making hard boiled eggs in the oven (I'd share but unfortunately it was incorrectly sourced).

Now, I have never been good at hard boiling eggs. I have to look online every time to remember how long to have them in the water, how long to have them off the heat, etc. And on top of that, they always end up being really difficult to peel. I end up losing half the egg on the shell. So I was excited to try out this new technique.

Just place eggs in a muffin tin (I used a mini muffin tin) and bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Then set eggs in cold water for 10 minutes to cool. And you're done!
I was SO impressed by this! The eggs came out perfect and the shell peeled right off! I didn't have to keep checking the timer or running to the stove. I just left them in the oven while I got some work done. This is definitely how I plan to make hard boiled eggs from now on. It passed the Pinterest Test!

What other things on Pinterest need to be put to the test?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

6 Ways To Take Advantage of Slow Seasons on Etsy

I almost named this post "6 Ways To Take Advantage of Downtime" but "downtime" is something that I don't think many independent business owners have. However, I do think we go through slow seasons. Obviously, with selling cards, my business can be very seasonal based on upcoming holidays (or lack-thereof). If you knit accessories, maybe you notice your sales are best in the cooler months. It's also common to hit a lull after the Christmas time rush.

When it can be easy to look at slow season in a negative way, it actually can have a positive effect on your business if you let it! It's the perfect opportunity to take advantage of this extra time you have.


1. Improve Your Shop
You've probably heard how important good product photos are on Etsy. Set aside an afternoon to shoot, experiment, and improve your product photos. What about your descriptions? Are they up-to-date? Do they tell the potential customer everything they need to know about the product? Same goes for your tags. Make sure your shop tags are descriptive. Think about what words you would search for to find your product on Etsy. And feel free to get an outsider's opinion. I ask my friend's all the time how they would search for cards and what they would be looking for as a buyer.


2. Widen Your Product Range 
If you have a new product you have been wanting to try out, well, now is the time! You may also consider what sort of product would make this slow season not so slow for you. Think about how you could make a wider range of the same type of product. For example, I know that summer will be slower than usual because there's few holidays people need cards for. So I thought about what IS big during the summer. Weddings, graduations....So I made more cards that could be used for those occasions.


3. Brainstorm The Next Big Season
I don't know about you, but I'm thinking about Valentine's Day 2013. Yes, yes, I know it's June. But I am already thinking about how to make next Valentine's Day season bigger than this year. I'm writing down card ideas. I'm writing down marketing ideas. I'm getting excited. Think about your last big season and what you learned. Take note on how to improve it for next time.


4. Make More Inventory
This is something I just started doing and I looooove it. It makes orders so much easier to fill when I have printed and packaged cards all ready to go. Utilize the extra time you have now so there's less work when things pick up.


5. Promote
Slow season is perfect for putting more effort into promotion. Ever spend time in the Etsy forums? They can be great for building relationships with other sellers and even attracting potential buyers. Seek out your favorite blogs and snag some ad space to draw more traffic to your shop. Tweet it up on Twitter. Update your Facebook page with a sneak peek of an exciting new product! Even though it may really be slow season for you, let your fans know you still have things going on!

6. Check your Etsy Stats
I check my Etsy stats ALL the time. I'm so glad Etsy finally started offering them because they are so helpful. Check where your traffic comes from so you know what promotion is working and what isn't. I also pay attention to the top keywords people use that reach my shop. Make sure your item tags have these keywords in them.  The keywords will also tell you what is popular at this time. Knowing this will help you when it comes to widening your product range.

Hope this helps! Now get to work! ;] xo JA

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight + Giveaway: Anna Delores Photography

Hi, I'm Emily (no, my name is not Anna Delores -- but don't worry, it's a common misconception)! "Anna Delores" is the name of my photography venture, founded in early 2011. The name "Anna Delores" comes from my maternal great-grandmother (Anna) and my paternal grandmother (Delores) in a salute to my heritage and appreciation of the influence of ancestry in my identity as an artist. I love vintage-inspired imagery and strive to integrate vintage elements in each and every one of my photographs. My photographic subjects range from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to antique objects in Los Angeles flea markets; I produce creatively-inspired images to make a connection with people, whether by recalling memories of a past trip abroad or summoning the human emotional connection to everyday objects. Some things I love (in no particular order): Dr. Pepper, Starbucks coffee, Julie Ann's blog, shoes, shopping, shoe shopping, napping, photography, ice cream, headbands, new socks, Anthropologie, cold weather, leggings, mimosas, weddings, Sara Bareilles, my family, my friends, my boyfriend, my dogs.
Shop // Blog // Twitter // Facebook

Receive 40% off your order with the coupon code JULIEANN40.

Today Emily is offering a $50 shop credit to her photography shop!!


Follow the Anna Delores Blog. Then leave me a comment telling me you've done so. Please include your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win!

*you must follow my blog to participate in sponsor giveaways*


1.) Like Anna Delores Photography on Facebook
2.) Follow Anna Delores Photography on Twitter
3.) Share this giveaway on Twitter using the tweet:
"Entering to win $50 credit to @annadeloresLA on @julieannart! http://tinyurl.com/7e9hmj6"
4.) Follow JAA on Twitter
5.) Like JAA on Facebook

Be sure to leave an additional comment for each extra credit option! That gives you a total of six chances to winI will announce the winner, chosen by random.org, here in one week! Good luck!


**The winner of last week's giveaway was #24, Danica V. Congrats!**

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Trying

I closed my shop for a few days this week to make some adjustments in the production side of things. It felt really weird to come home from work and not immediately start printing orders.

It made me think more about my life on a day-to-day basis. I work my day job for 8 or 9 hours. Then I go home and tackle all the days orders and if I'm lucky, a blog post. Throw dinner, a shower and sleep in there and I realized I only spend 3-4 hours per weekday on my business.
Since that amount of time is so limited, I don't get to pay as much attention to other aspects of the business as I would like. I feel bad that I rarely reply to the blog comments I receive. I feel bad I don't comment enough on other's blogs. I wish I had more time to be extra special with my order packaging. I feel like I don't do enough....like I don't show my support and appreciation enough.

I sit here and hope that my customers will love my product enough that the fact that every order is not tied in pretty twine will not matter to them. I hope that bloggers know that I'm still a fan even if I don't leave them comments. I hope these things don't come across as me "not caring" or "not trying."

Because I care so much and try so hard! I know when "The Day" comes when I do "That Thing" (are you following me?) I will have more time for the little details. But right now I'm working hard to just cover orders, blogging, and of course, working full-time. I hope you'll bare with me till I see it through! ;]

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hawaii Wedding Video

You asked for it! Here's the latest video from Etch Films.

Hope you enjoy! xo JA

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

DIY Collage Photo Frame Tutorial by My Life In Lavender

Hi Julie Ann Art readers, my name is J and I blog over at My Life in Lavender. I’m happy to be guest posting on Julie’s blog today to show you all how to make a super cute collage photo frame!

The supplies you need should be very easy to find: a photo frame (I chose an old one I had laying around to spruce up), glue, old magazines, scissors, and a paintbrush.
First, take some time and go through the magazines cutting out patterns and colors that you’d like to collage. Make sure to cut different shapes and sizes.Then, put a little glue onto the photo frame and stick on the magazine cutouts there. The paintbrush comes in handy to smooth the glue around, and makes it easier to avoid too much glue clumping in one area.
Take the scissors and cutout any excess magazine cutouts around the frame. Finally, use the paintbrush to apply a fine layer of glue to the entire frame, to seal the magazine cutouts into place. Then, let the frame dry and you’re set to go ahead and place photograph inside!
This collage frame is ideal for finally getting around to using those old frames that have been sitting in a corner, or just taking a simple frame and sprucing it up a bit. Have fun!

**Last week's Blowfish shoes giveaway winner was #217, Gina M. Maddox! Congrats Gina, you should receive an e-mail shortly!**

*Don't forget to enter J's jewelry giveaway here!*

Monday, June 18, 2012

My Style: A Lunch Date

This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Gina, of Acute Designs, and Tammy, of Lemons, Avocados and The Bay! We live relatively close to one another and decided to meet for lunch. I'm so glad we did because I had so much fun!

I decided to wear one of the new dresses I got from Ruche.  I have a thing for dresses with sleeves and I just couldn't pass up this pretty blue floral pattern. It's really comfortable and has a fun cut out in the back.
 (This happened.)
Outfit Details: Dress: Ruche, Shoes c/o Blowfish Shoes, Ring c/o My Life In Lavender

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight + Giveaway: My Life in Lavender


Hello Julie Ann Art readers, my name is J and I’m the one-woman workforce behind My Life in Lavender. I’m a student, a blogger, and a jewelry maker who has a passion for coffee, photography, and adventures. I have really eclectic taste and felt that I needed a fun creative outlet, and this is how My Life in Lavender began. It’s been an amazing journey, and I’ve loved every minute of it. 

This June I am officially launching the My Life in Lavender Shop, which I have been working towards for quite some time. The shop is inspired by the ocean, a true love of mine, and my addiction for funky, statement jewelry. I love to travel and see beautiful places, and I’ve tried to incorporate this beauty I’ve witnessed into the jewelry I create.



Blog // Twitter // Facebook
Today J is offering one lucky reader TWO lovely pieces of her jewelry.  You will receive a Real Sea Glass Ring, and an Orange Red Stone Necklace!


Follow the My Life in Lavender Blog. Then leave me a comment telling me you've done so. Please include your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win!

*you must follow my blog to participate in sponsor giveaways*


1.) Like My Life in Lavender on Facebook
2.) Follow Life in Lavender on Twitter
3.) Share this giveaway on Twitter using the tweet:
"Enter to win 2 pieces of jewelry from @life_lavender on @julieannart! http://tinyurl.com/7bwya98"
4.) Follow JAA on Twitter
5.) Like JAA on Facebook

Be sure to leave an additional comment for each extra credit option! That gives you a total of six chances to winI will announce the winner, chosen by random.org, here in one week! Good luck!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Salad by Anna Delores Photography

Good day, JAA readers!  I'm Emily and I blog over at Anna Delores; hope you'll pop over and say hello!

I am excited to share with you my FIRST EVER recipe post, and many thanks to the lovely Julie for letting me share it with YOU, her awesome readers.

Quick disclaimer: I do not claim to be good with food.  I'm great at eating it, but preparation?  Not always so great.  That said, this salad recipe is simple and painless and impossible to mess up.  I promise!
What you'll need (serves 2):

1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup raw pecans halves
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts
1/8 cup pine nuts
sprinkle of flax seeds
raspberry vinaigrette dressing

Prep your strawberries by washing and then slicing off the stem (unless that's how you roll: stem on!).  Cut into quarters, or use an egg slicer.  Toss strawberries with baby spinach leaves (wash these too, if you didn't buy them in a pre-washed package!), pecans, and goat cheese.  Sprinkle in your optional ingredients: pine nuts, flax seeds, and alfalfa sprouts (wash your sprouts thoroughly!).  You can easily do without the pine nuts, flax, and sprouts, but I enjoy the added nutritional benefits and flavors!
I also strongly recommend Bolthouse Farms' Olive Oil Vinaigrette Raspberry Merlot Yogurt Dressing.  It is SO GOOD, a little creamy, and not too bad on the calorie count.  Otherwise, any raspberry vinaigrette will do.  I've also had this salad with honey mustard dressing and that's good too!  You could also just go the route of oil and balsamic and I'm sure that would taste lovely, as well.

If you're not keen on goat cheese, you can use feta instead (this is also easier to find crumbled).  I like feta but I LOVE goat cheese, so I'll use it any chance I get!

More variations to try:
  • blueberries or raspberries instead of strawberries
  • walnuts instead of pecans
  • sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts
  • add chicken for some extra protein
And that is IT, my friends!  Fool proof and my summer dinner staple. Enjoy and cruise by to say "hello" sometime soon!


xo,
Emily


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

DIY Chalkboard Sign

I got some comments on the chalkboard signs I shared in my craft show display sneak peek and I wanted to share how I made them. I was initially looking online for chalkboard signs to buy because I was pretty pressed for time during my show preparation. But for some reason....they weren't cheap. So I made my own...super easy and super fast.
What you'll need:

Wood Pieces
(I got mine at Michael's, 4 for $2 they a have all kinds of shapes and sizes)
Chalkboard spray paint
Clothespins
Krazy glue

Lay out your pieces of wood and spray them with chalkboard paint, following the instructions on coats and drying times. Once dry, remember to first rub the side of a piece of chalk on the entire board to set it. Clean it off with water and you have a mini chalkboard!
Next lay the board chalkboard side down on a flat surface. Apply krazy glue to the top of a clothespin and position it on the board, pressing firmly. Let it dry in place before 24 hours. And you're done! These could also be used for labeling food and drinks at a party or wedding. I think they add an extra touch of cuteness!


Monday, June 11, 2012

DIY Studded iPhone Case

A while ago I came across this studded iphone case from Threadsence. I thought it was super cute but too expensive. So I put my craftiness to the test and made an attempt at my own.
What you'll need:

Phone case (I got 2 for $5 on Ebay)
Iron on studs (make sure they have no "legs")
Krazy glue
Ruler
Pencil

I laid out my design first before gluing anything, just to get an idea of how it would look. When I got an idea of where the placement would be I removed all the studs but one to mark the "start." Using a ruler, I drew a line lightly with a pencil to use as a guide. Time to glue!

Put a small dot of glue directly onto the case, where you'd like the stud to go. Quickly place the stud on top of the glue. I ended up using a manicure stick to get the stud in the correct position as quickly as possible. As soon as I got the placement right I stopped touching it and moved on to the next one.

In order to maintain a straight line of studs, it's best to take your time. I even took a break after a couple rows because I felt myself starting to rush. Once you have all your studs glued, leave the case alone! No touching for at least 24 hours! This was hard for me because I'm not good with waiting, but I knew I had to let the glue dry completely so they studs would hold as long as possible.

I love my new case! Super easy and super stylin! Good luck. :]

Friday, June 8, 2012

Blowfish Shoes Giveaway

Oh boy do I have a fun giveaway for you today! I mean, assuming you like shoes. You like shoes, right? Especially awesome ones that you win? Well, Blowfish Shoes is offering one lucky JAA reader a pair of shoes. And what's more, you get to pick the pair out yourself!
I have The Gypsy in Black and the Rulla in Red (recognize them from this style post?) and they are both super cute and most importantly, super comfortable! I definitely recommend this brand!


Visit the Blowfish website and leave a comment with what pair of shoes you would pick if you win!

*you must follow my blog to participate in sponsor giveaways*
U.S entries ONLY please!


1.) Like Blowfish Shoes on Facebook
2.) Follow Blowfish Shoes on Twitter
(They tweet fun stuff, you want to follow them, trust me!)
3.) Share this post on Twitter using this tweet:
"Entering to win my favorite @blowfishshoes on @julieannart! http://tinyurl.com/76gdkd3"
4.) Pin this post on Pinterest
5.) Like this post on Facebook

Be sure to leave an additional comment for each extra credit option! That gives you a total of six chances to winI will announce the winner, chosen by random.org, here in one week! Good luck!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Australia Wedding Videography

So, you probably know that I recently went to Australia. I showed you photos from our trip, including a sneak peek video featuring me feeding a baby kangaroo. But remember the real reason we went to Australia in the first place? To shoot a wedding?! It was such an amazing opportunity, definitely an experience I will never forget. I'm so honored to have been a part of the wonderful couple's special day.

The video is complete and I'm so excited to share. I really really hope you enjoy it!



To view more work by Etch Films, click here. If you're interested in booking Etch Films for your wedding or event, send an e-mail to info[at]etchfilms.com.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Buying Handmade

As my days are constantly being spent planning, contemplating, the self-employment dream, I've been thinking more and more about what it means to buy handmade. I was reminded of this blog post, by Sara of TwillyPop. After shopping at a major department store, she realized just how little "those guys" actually cared about their customers. She compared it to her own handmade business, and how much she appreciates her customers, how much she values her product and her customer service. I think this holds true for most handmade business owners.

I've been selling on Etsy for 4 years now and I still get happy after every sale. Every one. And I make it my responsibility to make sure that my customer is just as happy they made that purchase as I am. It's so humbling to know that some one wants to buy something you create. I seriously can't talk about how it makes me feel without getting all sappy.

Now as I'm making my plan for the voyage into self employment (it's coming!!), I've found myself counting numbers and calculating. How many cards a day do I need to sell to make "x" amount? How much ad space do I need to book per month to pay "x" bill? It has made me look at customers in a new light. Not only are they a.) awesome and b.) supportive, but they would also be c.) helping me live my dream.

It made me think of all the Etsy purchases I have made. Of the sellers, whose products I've been so excited to receive. I thought about their lives and wondered what impact my purchase had on them. Sure, I probably put a smile on their face, but what if I did more? What if I helped them pay their electricity bill? Or make their rent? 

Since I have experienced Etsy as a seller and a buyer, I've had the pleasure of seeing both sides. As a customer, I'm charmed by exceptional customer service and amazed by unique handmade products. Yet as a seller, I am honored to have customers and want to make sure my gratitude is known. The experience of buying handmade has benefits for both sides and I'm so happy to take part in each of them!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pina Colada Recipe

Well, it's that time of year. It's hot, it's sunny, it's time to sit back, relax and enjoy a pina colada or three. Or at least that's what's done around my house on the weekend. Some of my favorite time is spent sitting with Jordan in the yard, basking in the sun's warmth, enjoying a fresh fruity cocktail. In the past we have had Raspberry Mojitos and Strawberry Basil Margaritas. This weekend, Jordan blended us the perfect Pina Colada, that I swear could give the ones made in Hawaii a run for their money.

What you'll need:
1 c cream of cocount
1 pkg cubed pineapple
3/4 c pineapple juice
1/2 c rum (if you prefer)
2 c ice cubes

Add it all in your blender and blend it till smooth (unless you prefer it a bit chunky, I however, do not)! Would you believe....our blender actually crashed and burned during the first attempt at this recipe. We rode our bikes to the store to get a new blender...that is how much we wanted to sit in the sun with a pina colada this weekend. Enjoy!

Monday, June 4, 2012

DIY Washi Tape Holder

I have acquired quite the washi tape collection lately. I like to seal my shop orders with it to add some extra cuteness. I bought the majority of my collection from Pretty Tape but I also recently picked up a pack from Target's new office supply line (4 rolls for $4!). As my collection kept growing I was having a hard time keeping it all organized. I put together this handy tape holder this weekend.
I bought a wood dowel for a a couple bucks at Home Depot. I considered getting wood for the base while I was at Home Depot but I thought it would be easy to find something to re-use, rather than getting something brand new. I went to the thrift store and kept my eyes out for coasters, a small decorative plate, or you could even use a lid to a mason jar. The possibilities are really endless. I found a set of coasters for $1.49. We actually needed new coasters anyways so I bought the set and used one of them for the base.
Since the base that I found was wood I ended up using a flat-headed screw to attach the base to the dowel (Jordan helped!). If the base you find is not wooden you could use a strong glue to attach it. Once assembled, I chose to spray paint it white, since the two woods I was using didn't match in color.

Now my tape stays nice and organized and doesn't take up a lot of space! I looove getting more organized because trust me, my office doesn't always look like this. If you have any other easy tips please share!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: Little Daily Miracles

Meet Aleksandra! She is an extremely talented artist (just look at the samples of her artwork below) and I'm happy to introduce her to you today! Her blog is incredibly dreamy, it makes me realize how much of the world I still need to see. Show her some love!
Hello, my name is Aleksandra and I'm an architecture and political sciences student. My little blog documents all the small things that fulfill my life, from traveling, meeting new people to all the big passions of mine as drawing, playing piano and classic music. You are kindly invited to visit, and I hope you will like what you see. From me to you, A.



**P.S. The winner of last week's giveaway was announced here.**
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